OK, people, this is a pop quiz to test your knowledge of toxicology-related news events that have occurred in 2013. Clear your desks, take out a #2 pencil, and keep your eyes on your own paper. If you answer fewer than six correct, you need to fine-tune your Twitter feed and Google alerts. If you get 10 or more correct, you certainly have a suspiciously unhealthy interest in these sorts of things.
1. The New York Times reported in October that more than 40 people had been killed in Shaanxi Province, China, by:
A. Attacks of Naja atra, the Chinese cobra.
B. Cooking oil contaminated with organophosphate pesticide.
C. Giant 2-inch long hornets.
D. Rice wine contaminated with arsenic.
2. All of the following died of cyanide poisoning in 2013 except:
A. Urooj Khan, the day after he collected his $1 million winnings in the Illinois lottery.
B. Stephen Wakes, a potential witness in the Boston racketeering trial of James “Whitey” Bulger.
C. Autumn Klein, MD, a well-known neurologist at the University of Pittsburgh.
D. Tianle Li, a research chemist at Bristol-Myers Squibb in New Jersey.
3. Anna Maria Gonzalez-Angulo, MD, a medical oncologist at M.Anderson Hospital in Houston, was charged in June with poisoning her colleague/lover George Blumenschein, MD, by:
A. Spiking his coffee with ethylene glycol.
B. Feeding him cookies laced with thallium.
C. Placing a Western diamondback rattlesnake in his sock drawer.
D. Serving him a salad of aconite leaves and mushrooms.
4. Nine people in Finland developed toxicity last spring from a frozen vegetable product that inadvertently contained:
A. Poison hemlock.
B. Water hemlock.
C. Datura seeds.
D. Castor beans.
5. Researchers in London reported that they detected psychoactive substances used by attendees at a music festival in North West England by:
A. Disguising themselves as bikers and purchasing drugs being sold at the festival.
B. Ingesting available substances and then testing levels in their own blood.
C. Drawing blood samples from attendees under the pretext that they were testing for HIV.
D. Analyzing pooled urine samples from urinals.
6. Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto, attracted media attention when he:
A. Was discovered with multiple marijuana plants growing in his backyard.
B. Was allegedly caught on tape smoking crack cocaine.
C. Submitted a law to the city council legalizing hash brownies.
D. Admitted to using ecstasy.
7. The U.Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Service proposed to thin out the destructive brown snake population in Guam by:
A. Setting traps with white phosphorous.
B. Parachuting dead mice dosed with acetaminophen into the forest.
C. Poisoning rivers and pools with cyanide.
D. Feeding the synthetic cathinone MDPV to wild boars so they would become more aggressive toward the snakes.
8. Rumors had it that rapper Lil Wayne was admitted to the ICU at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles in March because he abused:
A. Cough syrup.
B. Bath salts.
9. Doctors at the University of Virginia Medical Center reported that a 19-year-old man ended up in the ICU after ingesting, apparently on a dare:
A. A gallon of gasoline.
B. A cup of wasabi.
C. A quart of soy sauce.
D. Five pints of hydrogen peroxide.
10. Time magazine reported in June that some dieters, in an attempt to cut down calories derived from alcohol, have started consuming ethanol by what route?
C. Per rectum (ethanol enema)
11. Officials from the supermarket Cub Foods apologized this summer after a branch in Minnesota:
A. Sold chicken treated with bleach to kill bacteria.
B. Ejected a customer who seemed to be on drugs who actually was suffering from severe hypoglycemia.
C. Handed out realistic-looking prescription bottles containing candy at a local parade.
D. Was caught in a local TV news sting selling cigarettes to minors.
12. Toward the end of the year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that the dietary supplement OxyElite Pro may be linked to:
B. Acute liver failure.
C. Renal impairment.
D. Erectile dysfunction.
13. Forensic experts investigating the 2004 death of Yasser Arafat detected traces of what on his toothbrush?
14. A 40-year-old British man died in May of caffeine poisoning after consuming a large number of:
A. Cans of Red Bull.
B. Energy mints.
C. Shots of 5-Hour Energy.
D. Cups of double espresso.
15. A Trust for America's Health report determined that the state with the highest rate of fatal drug overdoses is:
D. West Virginia.
Check your score on p. 7.
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* See a video of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford talking about smoking crack at http://huff.to/1bZjR6C.
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Answers to Dr. Gussow's Pop Quiz
Continued from p. 4
2. D. (Li was convicted of murdering her husband and sentenced to life in prison.)
3. A. (Dr. Blumenschein survived, but required dialysis.)